Nirmala looked healthy, says agency clerk


  • Nation
  • Friday, 01 Oct 2004

KUALA LUMPUR: On the day she was fetched by the husband of her prospective employer at the maid recruitment agency, Nirmala Bonat looked healthy, an accounts clerk of the agency told the Sessions Court yesterday. 

Voon Shwu Hong, 29, said this was how the Indonesian maid appeared on Sept 15 last year when Hii Ik Tiing came to the agency to take the girl. 

When Deputy Public Prosecutor Nur Izzaini Ishak asked Voon if she noticed any injury on Nirmala at that moment, counsel Jagjit Singh objected, saying the question was leading the witness. 

At this juncture, Nirmala, clad in a red floral baju kurung, was brought into the courtroom and Voon said she recognised the Indonesian maid. 

Nirmala: Her former employer faces four charges of abusing her.

Housewife Yim Pek Ha, 36, had pleaded not guilty on May 22 to three counts of causing hurt to Nirmala by using a hot iron and splashing hot water on the maid at the Villa Putera condominium in Jalan Tun Ismail here between January and April. 

Yim faces a fourth charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt to Nirmala with a steel mug at the same place at 3pm on May 17. 

If convicted, Yim faces a maximum of 67 years in jail and a fine or whipping. 

Voon told the court that Hii, the husband of the accused, chose Nirmala from a profile of maids that was shown to him. 

She said it was one of the processes that applicants go through apart from watching video clips of the maids. 

Voon, attached with Agensi Pekerjaan AZ Sdn Bhd, said each applicant was required to pay RM2,300 as a recruitment fee. 

She said the fee and a payment of RM2,050 would be paid to the company’s Indonesian agent, PT Kurnia Bina Rizki, after the maid is hired.  

The RM2,050 would be deducted in instalments from the maid’s monthly salary. 

Voon said Nirmala, from Desa Tuapakas in Kupang, Indonesia, entered Malaysia via the KL International Airport on Sept 4 last year. 

Her agency did not do any follow-up checks on Nirmala after Hii took the maid, Voon said. 

The agency, she added, would only send a letter to the employer in the second year for renewal of the contract. 

She told Jagjit Singh that Nirmala’s monthly salary was RM400 but the maid only saw her salary after serving seven months. 

She got RM50 while RM350 was for safekeeping, Voon said, adding that Nirmala was told about the deductions from her salary. 

Voon also agreed that Hii had issued seven post-dated cheques to the agency between September last year and April this year.  

She said she did not know who had trained Nirmala in Indonesia but the agency here had its own trainers, whom she named as Yatatik and Masripah. 

To questions about the maid, Voon said she could not remember if Nirmala was an intelligent person or whether the maid was hardworking or a fast learner. 

At the end of the day’s hearing, the defence questioned Voon if she knew Nirmala’s date of birth. Jagjit Singh pointed out that one document showed that her date of birth was Aug 27, 1984, while another showed that it was Aug 27, 1976.  

“Is Nirmala trying to look younger or older?” he asked. 

To this, Voon replied that the agency followed details according to the passport issued by the Indonesian government. 

Earlier, the court decided to accept that Malay Mail reporter Muzliza Mustafa, 26, had reported some details in connection with the Nirmala case according to what was told to her by security guard Abd Aziz Kamaruddin, 42, in an interview. 

However, Sessions Court judge Akhtar Tahir said his ruling on the credibility of Abd Aziz would be delivered at the end of the prosecution’s case.  

The hearing continues on Monday. 

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